Look, you’re new to the neighborhood, I get it. This is your first Halloween here. You probably just saw the simple, traditionally carved pumpkin on my porch and got excited. Or perhaps you were inspired by the hackneyed pot of mums I set out by the steps, or by the friendly ghost my first-grade daughter made from an old pair of socks and hung from some shrubbery, or by the pink sidewalk-chalk spider my preschool son sketched in our driveway. Perhaps the modest decorations by the family with a newborn across the street motivated you, as well, along with those cute orange and black balloons tied to their porch rail that say It’s a ghoul! And then there’s the kindhearted elderly couple on the other side of you whose yard features a goofy scarecrow complete with a worn-out flannel shirt, straw hat, and corncob pipe dangling from its squiggly grin, sitting out among some hay bales. Autumn festivity is certainly in the air, and I can’t fault you for catching the decorating bug and hanging an artificial severed head from your mailbox to complement the fake but quite realistic decapitated, disemboweled corpse you placed in your flower bed and all the imitation but no less nauseating entrails you strung through your trees. I’m a non-judgmental, non-confrontational kind of guy, after all.
That’s why, instead of approaching you during the day to discuss my problems with the plastic but very convincing disembodied head swaying from a chain in plain view of my children’s swing set, I crept into your yard in the dead of night, removed the head from your mailbox, and smashed it through your living room window.
The great thing is, you didn’t have the slightest clue it was me. You weren’t even suspicious when I brought my kids trick-or-treating to your door and knew to inspect your candy cauldron for broken glass before I let my kids dig in.
I told you I was looking for Butterfingers, when in reality, so they wouldn’t wind up in my children’s candy bags, I was combing the bucket for pieces of your window I’d shattered the night before. I pulled out three pieces of glass and said, “Hey, fun-size glass shards seems to be a popular item this year!”
You laughed nervously, apologized profusely, and, gesturing toward the tarp flapping over the massive, jagged hole in your window, said, “Yeah, last night someone broke our window with one of our decorations—that head we hung on our mailbox.”
“What kind of depraved jackass would do a thing like that?” I said in such a way as to make you think I was referring to destroying a nice bay window with a synthetic head, when in reality I was referring to hanging a bloodied head from one’s mailbox.
You see, not only do I know a thing or two about masking my face in camouflage paint, donning myself in thrift store army fatigues, and noiselessly belly-crawling through the yard under cover of darkness in order to damage your property, I also know that pronouns should refer to their closest antecedents.
“I just don’t know,” you said, shaking your head in confusion.
“Well, I know,” I said, not realizing I said it aloud because for the previous 24 hours I’d been inhabiting a passive-aggressive fantasy world in which, rather than speaking to you about my concerns with your overzealous Halloween décor, I simply used the overzealous décor to destroy your window while you slept, which of course I actually ended up doing.
“What?” you said, with a little more nervousness in your voice than when you responded to my joke about the fun-size glass shards.
Look, I’m a non-confrontational kind of guy. That’s why instead of acknowledging your question by changing the subject or acting as though I’d said something else, I grabbed your candy cauldron, dumped it over your head, and repeatedly assailed you with the cinnamon broom I ripped from your wall before grabbing my children (weren’t their costumes so cute!), jumping through the pane-less window, and fleeing across the property line.
I watched as you flung open the door and stepped right into a flaming bag of dog shit that I left to deter your pursuit in the event my cauldron and broom assault failed to leave you unconscious. You shook your fist at me and in a rage yelled that you were calling the police.
Well, good luck getting them to buy your story, wacko! Who do you think they’ll believe: the sick bastard who hung a bloody head from his mailbox with a cadaver in his petunias, or the guy wearing a candy corn necklace his daughter made for him at Halloween craft time?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go take the pumpkin-spice cookies out of the oven and pour some fresh apple cider which my kids, dressed as a puppy dog and a jack-o-lantern, will offer the authorities when they arrive.
Happy Halloween, and welcome to the neighborhood!
[This amazing post contributed by Christopher Martin. Heap praise on him. -Ed]